Southern California home sales jumped 26.9 percent and San Francisco Bay Area home sales rose 12.3 percent in November compared to the same month last year — while median prices plunged 34.5 percent and 44.4 percent, respectively.

That’s according to data released this week by real estate research company DataQuick Information Systems.

The sharpest San Francisco-area sales rise was in Contra Costa County, with sales leaping 61.9 percent year-over-year in November. That county also experienced the region’s largest slide in the median sale price of all new and resale homes and condos — down 44.4 percent.

John Walsh, DataQuick president, noted that the "near free-fall" in the Bay Area’s median price "certainly doesn’t mean every home has seen its value plummet that far. The median measures what is selling in the region, and recently the hottest sellers have been discounted, distressed homes, mainly inland." He also noted that coastal and move-up markets have shown more signs of "price weakness" and "sluggish" sales.

San Francisco had the largest sales slide in the Bay Area region (down 29 percent year-over-year in November), and also had the lowest decline in median price (down 20.5 percent).

Among six Southern California counties tracked in the monthly DataQuick report, Orange County had the largest year-over-year sales spike (up 38.9 percent) while San Bernardino had the most substantial price decline, at 43.9 percent.

Southern California sales rose the least in Los Angeles County (up 12.7 percent), while prices dropped the least in San Diego (down 30.7 percent).

The use of government-insured FHA mortgages rose to 20.6 percent of all home-purchase loans in November in the San Francisco region — a new record, and up from less than 1 percent in November 2007. The typical monthly mortgage payment that the region’s buyers committed themselves to paying was $1,625 in November, down from $2,963 in November 2007.

In Southern California, sales of foreclosure resale homes ranged from 44.1 percent of all resale home sales in Los Angeles County to 70.4 percent in Riverside County, DataQuick reported. And during the past three months, sales of foreclosure properties have accounted for about half of all sales of resale homes.

The typical monthly mortgage payment that Southern California buyers committed to paying was $1,323 in November, down from $2,049 in November 2007.

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